Millions of Safaricom subscribers were unable to make voice calls, send text or move money through the popular mobile money transfer platform, M-Pesa for the best part of 24th April. The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) warned that unless the shutdown was caused by an “act of God”, Safaricom would face sanctions insisting the regulator does not tolerate downtimes of more than one hour.
Francis Wangusi, the CA director-general, said the agency had also been left in a “communication blackout” and had been forced to “physically” send people to Safaricom just to get an idea what was happening. Telecommunications operators paid KES 190 million total fine last year for poor quality of service. Safaricom, topped the list with a fine of KES 157 million while Airtel and Telkom Kenya paid a combined penalty of KES 33 million. “If it was a deliberate move, we are going to take action,” Wangusi told journalists at the CA headquarters.
The biggest sufferers in the Safaricom outage were mobile money users. CA statistics show that about KES 3.3 trillion moved through the M-Pesa platform in the year to December 2016 translating to an average KES 9 billion per day or about KES 376.7 million every hour.
Bob Collymore, the Safaricom chief executive, said the telecoms operator had lost connectivity in its core network and the redundant path. According to CA, all telecommunication services should guarantee a 99.9 per cent delivery.